The Mind of Mithraists: Historical and Cognitive Studies in the Roman Cult of Mithras - Scientific Studies of Religion: Inquiry and Explanation (Hardback)
  • The Mind of Mithraists: Historical and Cognitive Studies in the Roman Cult of Mithras - Scientific Studies of Religion: Inquiry and Explanation (Hardback)
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The Mind of Mithraists: Historical and Cognitive Studies in the Roman Cult of Mithras - Scientific Studies of Religion: Inquiry and Explanation (Hardback)

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Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 20/11/2014
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The Roman cult of Mithras was the most widely-dispersed and densely-distributed cult throughout the expanse of the Roman Empire from the end of the first until the fourth century AD, rivaling the early growth and development of Christianity during the same period. As its membership was largely drawn from the ranks of the military, its spread, but not its popularity is attributable largely to military deployments and re-deployments. Although mithraists left behind no written archival evidence, there is an abundance of iconographic finds. The only characteristic common to all Mithraic temples were the fundamental architecture of their design, and the cult image of Mithras slaying a bull. How were these two features so faithfully transmitted through the Empire by a non-centralized, non-hierarchical religious movement? The Minds of Mithraists: Historical and Cognitive Studies in the Roman Cult of Mithras addresses these questions as well as the relationship of Mithraism to Christianity, explanations of the significance of the tauroctony and of the rituals enacted in the mithraea, and explanations for the spread of Mithraism (and for its resistance in a few places). The unifying theme throughout is an investigation of the 'mind' of those engaged in the cult practices of this widespread ancient religion. These investigations represent traditional historical methods as well as more recent studies employing the insights of the cognitive sciences, demonstrating that cognitive historiography is a valuable methodological tool.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781472584199
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 463 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 13 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
The Mind of Mithraists provides the readership with an impressive, updated synthesis, specifically contributing to Mithraic studies by adding an evolutionary groundwork and a social post-structuralist perspective ... Historically engaging, theoretically exhilarating, and methodologically inspiring. * Journal of Cognitive Historiography *
An extensive study of the cult of Mithras during the tumultuous Graeco-Roman age that particularly proves how cognitive historiography of religion contributes insights into how and why specific representations of historical behaviors emerged, were favored and remembered, and not others that may have been historically, culturally or cognitively possible. * Panayotis Pachis, Professor of Religious Studies, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece *
Luther H. Martin is a provocative thinker who has previously questioned many established truths about the Roman cult of Mithras. He is also a founding figure of cognitive historiography and an outspoken proponent of cognitive theorizing in the study of ancient religions. The prepared volume The Mind of Mithraists, covering many important and often neglected topics in the study of Mithraism, promises to be a book no scholar of ancient religions is allowed to ignore. * Ales Chalupa, Department Head, Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Czech Republic *

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